by Antje Pfahl
Good to publish..!
I got inspired by Harry’s Blog, on Product management, and thought, I must write my first blog and Be the ONE! Its my first month of interacting with new people, making new friends, and I find the energy and vibrancy of this place is amazing. I come from a divergent kind of companies, first Buongiorno and then Comviva, both fulfilling assignments and I was blessed to work with some wonderful people. If Buongiorno was my playground on leadership, then Comviva is where I sharpened this art.
I believe, today’s digital natives, need nothing more than leadership. Chaos is today’s new order. Challenges & opportunities keep knocking on every door, window but our ability to grab them continues due to remain dull. We have to make a “Choice” of our opportunities. In life my friends, it’s not the knocking opportunities that matter, but the decisions of “choices” we make. And to make decisions on these choices, what you need is leadership! Continue Reading →
Ask anybody at One97, and chances are that they know Gaman. From being an enthusiastic engineer to an equally astute sportsman leading One97 to its many sporting victories, to dancing an energetic Bhangra on stage – make enough reasons for people to know him.
While at work, Gaman is “building engineering products, doing the architectural planning for requirements, seeing what hardware, softwares and databases are required, designing the technical workflow, estimating the resource size and devising the technical product overview.”
Continue Reading →
by Sangeetha Iyer
When you think about someone who is effervescent and multi-talented at One97, the one person that comes to mind seamlessly without a strain or doubt is Smita Rajan who has worked for almost six years here.
Smita started her exciting voyage with her share of many trials and triumphs in her twenty-year media career that has seen the highest highs in One97. “I have had a fantastic ride here and from under 100 employees we have grown close 1000 now. But the warmth which I found then has continued. I have worked in different teams; my role has also changed over the years, but this warmth has helped me to understand this workplace so much more.”
Having been in the company for a while now, Smita understands her role very well and mentors many a new young people sometimes even inadvertently for their benefit and for the company’s welfare as well. “One of the things that comes automatically because of my being a woman and mother is maternal skills that allow me to help my colleagues and sometimes new employees feel at home in their new work environment.”
Talking about her journey with One97, Smita continues, “I was recruited for scripts and voice user interface. Later I got a taste of mobile content and a chance to dabble in video content, which was very exciting for me after my TV production experience. All through this I also multi-tasked with mobile marketing function, which today is my primary role. My trajectory in the company shows how One97 lets its employees choose their path, which I am sure leads to a better performance.”
Hearing from Smita about her journey makes me think how passionate she is about her work and workplace and that both Smita and One97 have benefited immensely with this partnership. She says unflinchingly, “One97 is my second home as I spend my entire day here, but what has worked for me is their flexibility especially towards their women employees. Even when I was interviewed by Vijay, I remember mentioning that I have a young son and that being a single parent one needs to do many things. To this he replied, what really matters to the company is that we take ownership of our work.
“I feel blessed to be working here and have never had a problem with them. Touch wood, we have gelled beautifully. More importantly, I have never had to worry about my growth prospects, One97 has taken care of that among other things,” she says with a tinge of happiness.
Always open to new things, Smita has become part and parcel of almost every social activity in One97. She is as active and clued in as she was when she was a new entrant. “From organising in the first Annual Day function when I joined in 2006 to many enrichment activities later, I have loved being on organising and participating sides,” says Smita with a sparkle of conviction in her voice.
In fact she believes “the culture is so vibrant and transparent that it encourages employees to have fun at work and off with the One97 family. Personally, I love to go to work every day and I feel employees especially women are respected and taken care of.”
Without a doubt, Smita’s joie de vivre transcends beyond her work and spills into her personal life as well. And, what is special about her is she enjoys every moment of her life as though it was her last.
Apart from being the founder member of a group of musicians where they meet up regularly and jam through the night, she loves to dance and knows at least eight forms of dance. She is also part of a few writers’ networks and without her knowing continues to inspire many women in her circle. Ask her who her inspiration is and she says unhesitatingly, “One lady who has recently inspired me much is Sheryl Sandberg, the Facebook COO, and I can’t deny the influence of Vijay who has been such a good captain for our ship.”
Being Smita has almost always meant being a 100% engaged employee despite her personal hiccups or anything else. She has trailblazed ahead striving for excellence always thus setting a benchmark for other people to follow.
by Sangeetha Iyer
When you meet Nilesh Singh – the person who is responsible for sourcing the right kind of people for One97 – you would little wonder why. With his infectious charm and dedicated efforts, he uses the Social Media to its full glory and improves the human capital in the company.
Nilesh is one of the main reasons behind the innovative HR policies at One97 as well as being a strategic business contributor for the company. “In the three years that I have been here, it has been an exhilarating journey wherein I have had a chance to create many new things at HR and take ownership of them as well.
“Obviously, my main job has been to attract and find the right kind of talent and ensuring that they are in alignment with the culture here so that the vibrancy is maintained,” he says with a sparkle in his eyes.
Being well-versed with people skills, Nilesh has played an important role in shaping the people of One97. A humble and sincere person, he doesn’t take credit for what he has achieved but instead chooses to praise his team for identifying systems and processes compliant with the company in order to find the right talent.
He continues, “Yes, our methods of sourcing people are non-traditional and quite interactive. As a power user of the Social Networking Media – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, et al – these interfaces have resulted in many successful hirings at many levels especially the senior talent from the industry.”
For someone who is enthusiastic and ever ready to take any initiative at One97, it doesn’t come as a surprise when he talks about One97 as his ‘second home’. He happily echoes his thoughts when he says, “Whenever any employee is affected, my role starts and I jump into the action mode. We are a motivated bunch of people because we continually create and achieve the targets and have a sense of fulfilment at work most of the times.
“My typical day never really ends, thanks to the smart phones and Social Media. But spending so many hours at work gives me a happy feeling and the best part is working with Vijay Shekhar Sharma (MD of One97), one feels automatically so energised with the company’s vision,” he says with a sense of pride in his voice.
In fact, Nilesh believes “having a good discussion with people almost always helps in solving conflicts and things that need to be addressed immediately should be done without carrying any baggage. In many ways, that is also a mantra for innovation. Keeping an eye for things and having the zeal to solve issues automatically leads to innovation”.
Apart from being passionate about what he does, Nilesh says he never completely ‘switches off from work’ and makes the most of everything despite that. He absolutely adores spending time with his one and a half year old daughter.
And, it doesn’t end there. He is an active sportsman who loves swimming and has been a national swimmer also. And, of course, he loves to socialise with his friends – a trait which is a pivotal part of his everyday work.
To say the least, Nilesh has added a sense of vibrancy and effectiveness to the myriad things he and his team have created internally and externally vis-à-vis HR systems in One97. Like he mentions about One97, “This is a perfect place for all those who work not only for the sake of working but because they are having fun while doing their everyday work. All other minor and finer things can be fine-tuned, but taking pride in what we have achieved together as a One97 family is the key,” he finishes off with his trademark smile.
That is one of the things Nilesh loves about being at One97. If there is a thing he doesn’t understand at all, it is being proud and vain. He is humility personified and everything for him begins and ends with striving for excellence for One97.
by Sangeetha Iyer
Srinivas Mothey is not your average office-goer. He is infact a superstar achiever who has changed the face of mobile marketing in One97 – for the better. And, he is fast emerging as one of the top performers in the company.
His remarkable journey began nine years ago when after an MBA he decided to start something of his own. “I didn’t want to take up a job, I started my own company with two IITians and we created a product for about three years and that itself was challenging enough.
“After we sold this start-up, I briefly moved into Yahoo Search Engine and then to an advertising agency called Interactive Avenues. In a little more than three years, I could successfully expand the business to search engines and analytics and the revenues to about 6 million US dollars, and took the company to becoming the number 1 search engine in India,” he says with a glint of happiness.
Srinivas’ enthusiasm for excellence and perfection is reflected even in the way he approaches things. With planned precision, he has carved a niche for himself in his eventful career. However, One97 was a happy accident for this go-getter who took on this challenge of heading the mobile marketing division.
“I was at the right place at the right time. Mobile marketing was at its nascent stage when we saw a huge opportunity in it. Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s (MD of One97) vision married with mine, and I had a great chance to look after this business like a start-up and do it my way,” he says with a sparkle of delight in his eyes.
Always sensing the right opportunities, Srinivas quickly took the mobile marketing business in the mainstream to the companies and showed them how effectively it could be used in everyday scheme of things. “We ventured into the B2B segment and created awareness with the big companies how they could use One97 as a powerful mobile marketing platform for their brands.
“The big pay off has been that under a year, with hardwork and consistent practical examples shown to them, the brands that we are servicing have grown from merely 4 to 40 brands in India and are still scaling much higher,” he says with a big smile but quickly adds, “This is a big achievement for us. Revenues have grown by 200% since last year and there is revenue sustenance as well. And, very importantly, I have a kickass team that is superb in creating awareness and reaching to the maximum number of brands.”
Srinivas believes that he owes his big moments to new thoughts and ideas that are being generated on a continual basis as well as to how beautifully he and his team have been able to integrate mobile marketing with that of other mediums such as radio, TV and print.
So, what is his mantra for motivating his team and himself? Says Srinivas with a calm demeanour, “Everytime we see excitement in the face of an advertiser or a brand, we feel more confident about how good our product is and of course, since the money spent on mobile marketing has increased – that in itself is a huge incentive for us to reach greater heights.”
He continues further, “One97 is the leader in this space now and our ambition is not only to cover the entire breadth in mobile marketing space, but also to be an evangelist for others.”
Apart from being passionate about his work, Srinivas is a music aficianado and particularly adores long drives. When he is not travelling for work, he loves to travel for leisure and enjoys learning from everyday good things. Sincere in approach and confident in his ability to foresee challenges and convert them into opportunities, he doesn’t revel in his current achievements only, in fact he likes to stay a few steps ahead of the game.
Srinivas represents a new league of leaders who take pride in the One97 culture of openness and intrapreneurship. “There are a number of cultural activities that make our work-life colourful and exciting – for example, competitive events such as arranging desks in the most innovative manner bring out the hidden creativity in people which otherwise might have remained untapped,” he signs off.
Of course, Srinivas is not just innovative and creative, he also has a razor sharp mind and knows exactly what needs to be done next. Just like his role-model, Steve Jobs, he always stays ahead of the herd.
by Sangeetha Iyer
Just the other day when I had a face-to-face with Rajesh Nair, what struck me most about
him was his simplicity and candidness in sharing his wonderful journey in One97 and
how from being a developer he has come a long way to becoming the Business Head for
One97’s Regional Offices.
His incredible journey began seven years back when as a developer he joined the One97
company armed with sincerity and hope of a bright future. “I have seen such amazing
things here because when I joined we were a small setup with only 33 people, and over
years, we have changed several offices to the current office in Noida which houses more
than 1000 plus people,” he says with a big smile.
Always open to new things, Rajesh quickly learnt all that was to learn about being a
developer and trained his teams really well. With some time to spare, he decided to
pick on greater challenges and under the mentorship of Vijay Shekhar Sharma (MD of
One97), he moved on to the business side of things.
“I always wanted to do something more at One97 and thanks to Vijay, we began
expanding the One97 company with its first regional office in Chennai a few years back.
After the team in Chennai was well-equipped, two more offices came up.
“Later, as One97 began growing bigger, yet another branch was started at Bangalore, and
the entire Southern space has been taken care of,” says Rajesh with a glint of happiness
in his eyes, but quickly adds, “We didn’t stop there. Two more branches came up in
Mumbai and Kolkata, thus Western and Eastern regions have been covered as well.”
Because of his willingness to go beyond his comfort zone, Rajesh has experienced a
myriad of things he has never done before – such as searching for properties, logistical
issues of setting up new offices, planning and execution of things within budgets at new
locations – thus picking up all the entrepreneurial skills along the way.
A veteran in One97, Rajesh comes across as a down-to-earth and friendly person and
is ‘always available’ to his team members all across India without any hitch. Says
Rajesh, “I meet everyone personally, see them regularly, anyone can approach me as
I can meet everyone else. That is the unique thing about One97’s culture that I love.
Seniors are easily accessible, and if anyone wants to accomplish something, opportunities
“Team interactions and cross team mingling happen in a big way, and even the regional
offices have replicated this amazing fun spirit of the company. Yes, sometimes there are
gaps, then we have healthy discussions and take it forward. Of course, Friday Funclub,
birthday bashes, weekend outings and all the other cultural activities make this an
When he is not travelling for work or working out the logistics for his offices, he loves to
dabble in photography and travel around and explore new places.
A very positive person, Rajesh has climbed the ladder of success owing to his dedication
and commitment for One97. He feels his father has a major role to play in where he is
Ask him who inspires him most, he says unflinchingly, “There are three people who
I look up to: First is Padmashri Dr Vijay Bhatkar (best known as an architect of
the PARAM series of Supercomputers) who I briefly assisted in 2000, then, my father
who taught me never to say ‘no’to any kind of work, and finally, Vijay Shekhar Sharma
from whom I have learnt that a leader should always be a people’s person.”
Undoubtedly, Rajesh Nair is a people’s person; and he’s much more than just that. He
has travelled the length and breadth of One97 quite literally – and along the way carved a
niche for himself.